As we were preparing this issue of The Measurement Advisor, I wanted to validate the appetite among our readers for information on measuring digital/social media vs. traditional media. I started by looking through our database at the titles of our subscribers. What I found were titles that included one or more of the following words in an astonishing variety of combinations: Social, Digital, Content Marketing, PESO, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Communications, Advertising, Marketing, Development, Events, etc., etc. Two things quickly became apparent:

  1. Even though most of our readers probably do similar things every day, their organizations see the job of communications through many different lenses.
  2. Traditional boundaries (and monikers) are shifting under our feet.

Just what media are we putting out there?

Which raised a couple of questions:

  1. Is there really any difference between digital and online and advertising anymore?

Most ad dollars are moving online, most news is consumed online, and most information is communicated online. So can we just accept that that if you’re paying for space, clicks, or eyeballs, then chances are good that most of it will be consumed in some sort of digital format?

  1. What’s with all this silly PESO stuff?

The term PESO has been around since the emergence of social media as a dominant force in marketing. Somehow putting a catchy acronym on it seemed a way to bring it all under control. If you’ve been living under a rock, PESO stands for Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned. But smart marketers (and the Conclave on Social Media Measurement Standards) quickly pointed out that, in reality, one “earns” shares by creating great content, so the acronym really should be POE. So the cool kids started using POE instead. And that was that.

Except that still left the dangling adjective of “owned.” Owned made sense back in the days when organizations did a little social on the side when they weren’t busy doing other things. Somehow it seemed free. With social media budgets expected to rise 21% in the next five years, it’s clear that we are paying for an increasing amount of social media engagement. So to separate “owned” from “paid” seems ridiculous. So tell me again why we need four words to describe what people are currently doing on social? “Earned” and “paid” pretty much have it covered.

So what does all this have to do with measurement?

Earned media

First of all, as we’ve said over and over again, social and traditional monitoring and measurement belong in one bucket. Of course you don’t want your measurement system overwhelmed with a gazillion irrelevant tweets, but no communications person wants to miss the early warning that Twitter might provide.

So set up your monitoring to capture the most important influential authors – not just the publications or media platforms they write for. Then do a deep dive content analysis on them. The rest you let the robots count.

If yours is a public company, you will want to separate out Twitter just so you filter out the hundreds of day-trader/investor tweets designed to move your stock price up or down.

Read “6 Steps to the Perfect Social Media Measurement System” and “Checklist 2.0 for Measuring Social Media” in this issue for more details on the best way to measure your earned social media.

Social and digital media

According to the 2016 Social Media Marketing Report from Simply Measured, most social media managers are now reporting to digital marketing groups. From a measurement perspective this makes perfect sense. Sure, social has its own “engagement” metrics, but ultimately the goals are the same: to sell stuff, grow lists, and strengthen relationships. Most of which are best measured via digital analytics.

Where does content marketing fit in?

Content marketing fits in right under social and digital. And, unless you’ve got an intern developing it for free, it’s considered “paid” media. In measurement, when the goals are the same, chances are the metrics are as well. Most content developed for marketing purposes is designed to sell stuff, grow lists, and strengthen relationships. So why would you measure it any differently?

We trust that we’re leaving you a little less confused. If not, contact us and we’d be happy to chat some more. ∞

Note: This piece originally appeared as a free article in the early September 2016 edition of The Measurement Advisor newsletter. For complete access to all articles, click here for a free 30-day trial.

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